As we get closer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Woo builders, especially those with services and products, are gearing up one way or another for that holiday weekend. So this seems like good timing to have a few experienced builders to share their own expertise and experience with a collection of tips for WooCommerce builders.
Experiences and Insights for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales
Hear tips from these pros:
- Rob Cairns – StunningDigitalMarketing.com [00:55]
- Mike Stott – Jetpack.com [02:43]
- Katie Keith – Barn2.com [03:55]
- James Rowland – PerfectCheckout.com [:05:25]
- Joe Casabona – CreatorCourses.com [07:18]
- Angela Bowman – AskWPGirl.com [09:45]
- James Kemp – IconicWP.com [12:21]
- Joe Wells – AffiliateWP.com [13:05]
- Bridget Willard – BridgetWillard.com [14:46]
- Jamie Marsland – Pootlepress.com [16:05]
- Emily Hunkler – GoWP.com [17:30]
- James Baldacchino – GetEllipsis.com [19:10]
- Jason Coleman – StrangerStudios.com [21:01}
Thanks to Our Pod Friends
BobWP: Hey, everyone. Bob WP here, and welcome to Do the Woo Podcast, a podcast for WooCommerce builders. As we hit episode 153 in the latter end of October, our thoughts turn to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I'm sure many of you have already been deep in your plans and strategies, but no matter if you are pondering the idea, just starting it or well into the approach. In this episode, I have a collection of tips from pros across both the Woo and WordPress ecosystem to give you some insights. Now, before we get into these, you may want to note a couple of things. First, some tips may be repeated, but each one has its own specific angle and success. And then on the flip side, many may appear to be a contradiction, but this also shows just how successful sales can depend on your own variables. In fact, nothing is a magic formula. So let's hear what they have to say.
Rob Cairns, Stunning Digital Marketing
[00:55] Rob Cairns: Hi, everybody. I'm Rob Cairns. I'm the founder and CEO at Stunning Digital Marketing. In today's WooCommerce tip, I wanted to talk about security for your website, and it's really important around Cyber Monday and Black Fridays. But the reality of it all is it's important all year round. So a lot of people go and create these wonderful websites and they don't bother to secure them and they don't bother to keep them up to date. What I would do is going into Black Friday, a couple of days ahead of time, I would make sure my website is 100% up-to-date. The hackers are out in droves on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and they like to bring e-commerce sites down.
So what I would do, make sure my WordPress is up-to-date, update all my plugins on my WordPress website, make sure I have a good backup that I know I can restore. So also test the restore ahead of time. Make sure it's restorable because your restore is only as good as your backup. And once that is done, then double-check any security software you're running. Whether it's iThemes Security, whether it's Wordfence security or any other third-party security product. In the longterm, I would also cut my web host, your web hosts is your partner in security, not a vendor. So keep that in mind. So take the time, protect yourself, secure what your website and your customer's journey on Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be much better.
Mike Stott, Jetpack
[02:43] Mike Stott: Hi there, it's Mike here from Jetpack CRM. My biggest tip for anyone planning to run a Black Friday, Cyber Monday sale is to know your customers. Have you ever had one of those blanket emails, which has clearly been sent to everyone? I don't know about you, but what I do when I get an email like that, I just hit that unsubscribe button. But I once got an email and it was like the email just knew me. It was for t-shirt savings with Mike's legacy bloodline. And it sent me to a store page with all sorts of t-shirts with my name, actually on them.
Wow. Sure, it must've been more effort to set up and target name groups, but it's a great example of even just looking like you know your customer. This type of marketing, you can set up using something like Jetpack CRM, where you can import your WooCommerce customers and then target an email campaign to everyone called Mike. So for me, if I get an email that's too generic, it just means people that don't subscribe. But if I get a really targeted email, then you have way more success, so that would be my tip of the day.
Katie Keith, Barn2 Plugins
[03:55] Katie Keith: My advice is to keep it simple and offer a fixed percentage off everything. At Barn2, we had previously tried more complex discount structures, such as an early bird discount on plugin bundles, but these had got very few sales. We've had much better results simply by offering 30% or 50% of everything. Don't start a sale on Black Friday, as people start shopping for deals well before this. Last year, we started our sale on the Monday before Black Friday and almost 50% of the sales took place before Black Friday even started. This year, we're considering whether to run the sale for the whole month of November, and we'll see how that goes. It's a big dilemma whether to discount lifetime licenses because of the risk that these customers would otherwise renew at full price. I think it's worth discounting lifetime licenses because renewal rates are typically not of value to some Black Friday customers.
So that means that the priority is to maximize the initial purchase cost rather than the longer term lifetime value from those customers. Don't waste time contacting all the sites who publish Black Friday roundup, listing all the work plus companies who are running sales. We always spend time contacting all the roundup sites and track almost no sales as a result. Nearly all our Black Friday sales come from direct traffic, Google organic, email marketing, ads and websites, which promote our products all year round and not just on Black Friday. The roundups just don't generate sales in the way you might expect.
James Rowland, Perfect Checkout
[05:25] James Rowland: Hey, WooCommerce family. This is James Rowland, founder and CEO of perfectcheckout.com. And my Black Friday tip would be to ensure your web hosting and checkout process are set up for success. The last thing you want to have happen during a big sale are timeout issues or payment processing errors, both could lead to lost sales and lost customer trust. So to avoid that, I highly encourage merchants to get set up with VPS hosting that automatically scales server resources to your traffic demand. There are plenty of options out there, but I personally recommend either Kinsta or Nexcess for that. And for your checkout process, make sure to do test orders with all your available payment options on every device. So you want to make sure your checkout process is just working absolutely 100% before you have a big sale. You could use a dedicated WooCommerce checkout solution for complete peace of mind.
Perfect Checkout is one option for ensuring you don't have things like payment, plug-in glitches or usability issues on your cart and checkout page. There's a number of hosted checkout solutions out there though. And they can provide a number of benefits to your store. That said, ensuring 100% uptime and smooth functionality on all devices are the key features you should be looking for to ensure a successful Black Friday. Bottom line, make sure your website and ordering process are ready for a lot of traffic today. I know I've been there, running around like a crazy person trying to fix that stuff in the middle of a big sale. And I don't wish that on anyone. So good luck. And I hope you all make a ton of money this November.
Joe Casabona, Creator Courses
[07:18] Joe Casabona: Hey Bob, this is Joe Casabona from cre atorcourses.com. I've tried my hand at a few different Black Friday Cyber Monday sales, and the best one in my own personal experience was offering a pretty good lifetime deal on my membership over at Creator Courses. The problem was, I didn't warm up my list at all for this. And as a matter of fact, I didn't even plan to do a Black Friday, Cyber Monday sale. I was sitting in a coffee shop on the Wednesday before Black Friday, so Thanksgiving Eve here in the United States, and I thought, "Gosh, I should maybe try to do something." So I created a new product called lifetime access or something like that. I assigned an arbitrary price to it, and I emailed my list minus the members who got the lifetime deal when I first launched, because I offered it then as well.
And it went okay, but this year I'm going to be a lot more prepared. So again, my tip is warm up your list and plan ahead. I think your timing for releasing this now in, I don't want to date it, but it's well before Black Friday at this point. I think your timing to release this episode is good because I have already started thinking about my Black Friday, Cyber Monday deal. And I'm going to do a sequence starting probably in the 1st of November where I'm going to segment my list and then email one of two Black Friday offerings based on how they're tagged and what they've shown their interest in. So there you go, plan Black Friday, Cyber Monday sales ahead of time, don't do it two days before Black Friday. And warm up your list so that they know it's coming and that they're primed and ready to buy.
Angela Bowman, Ask WPGirl
[09:45] Angela Bowman: Hi, my name is Angela Bowman, owner of Ask WPGirl. My tip for anyone selling where WooCommerce plugins is to make it easy for people to contact you with pre-sale questions, especially during sales events and be very prompt in your reply to these, also to offer a 30 day money back offer. Many of us building WooCommerce sites may not know if your plugin's a good fit for our client's website and being able to take it for a test drive is absolutely essential. We're not trying to take advantage of you. We just really need to make sure that it meets our needs. Also, to this end, I would make sure you describe in very finite detail what your plugin does or doesn't do on your website. Create an FAQ and perhaps take the frequently asked pre-sale questions you get or reasons for returns that people have and use these in your list. And it will help to save you time and your potential customers' time. Thank you so much. Have a happy sales day.
BobWP: Hey, BobWP here. I'd like to take a moment to thank two of our pod friends for their support of Do the Woo. When you build a client site, after the fact, you are doing one or two things; continuing to help them maintain their site, or simply handing it over. Now, whatever the case may be, you need to give your clients even more confidence in running their Woo shop. OSTraining has a great collection of WooCommerce tutorials that will help your clients get the most out of their site. And as a bonus for you, the builder, you can also find training to enhance your knowledge as they continue to grow their WordPress and WooCommerce developer training. So whether it's for yourself or to help your clients understand and take control of their Woo shop, OSTraining has you covered at ostraining.com.
BobWP: Need to help your clients create optimized sales funnels using their WooCommerce shop? WooFunnels gives you and your clients all the tools needed to create high converting funnels using WooCommerce. And to add to that, their CRM lets you create broadcasts and automated workflows with unlimited contacts. Because in the end, it's not just building the shop, but building sales and a solid customer base. Visit woofunnels.com to learn more. And now, let's head back to the show.
James Kemp, IconicWP
[12:21] James Kemp: Hey, I'm James Kemp from IconicWP. My biggest tip for Black Friday, Cyber Monday is to create a landing page specifically for the sale. So for example, we use Freemius to sell our products and we have 15 or so plugins that you can purchase from our website. What we found that works really well during Black Friday is to display those offers all on one page and so, the customer can come in, see all your products on one page and make their purchasing decisions for that sale, all from the single page. It's great for the customer experience. And it's also great for marketing, for having people share the URL of your deal and getting the word out.
Joe Wells, AffiliateWP
[13:05] Joe Wells: Hi, this is Joe Wells with the AffiliateWP team. One tip I have for Black Friday, Cyber Monday is to seriously consider including affiliate marketing in your strategy. You're already going to be spending time, money, and effort to attract new sales from perfect strangers. So imagine how effective it can also be to incentivize your existing customers, your loyal fans, to share your products with others, put them to work as influencers and affiliates. In the past, we've done a promo just for Affiliate WP affiliates. We, on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, offered our affiliates a $50 bonus whenever they got $200 in referrals earnings, and the affiliates could get 50 bucks each time they hit 200 bucks in referral earnings. That's pretty compelling. You could try other incentives like a free iPad or a Kindle Fire, anything to grab their attention and tempt them into spending time and effort, promoting your product.
It's worth a try and there's no risk because you only pay affiliates or influencers when they have driven a successful confirmed sale. Our plugin, Affiliate WP, allows you to easily manage an affiliate marketing program and we offer full WooCommerce integration with one-click. Or if you're just starting out and giving affiliate marketing a try, you could try carefully managing links and WooCommerce coupons. This will take a bit more work. You'll have to give one unique link or coupon to each person promoting your product and then manually pay them for successful referrals. Affiliate marketing is just organized word of mouth and we all know word of mouth is really effective. Consider it in your Black Friday, Cyber Monday plans.
Bridget Willard, BridgetWillard.com
[14:46] Bridget Willard: Hi, this is Bridget Willard with bridgetwillard.com. My tips for Black Friday is to leave Black Friday to the brick and mortar store. Cyber Monday is our day to celebrate and I would also give you this tip, take an inventory of the top 10 products that will be on sale. If everything is on sale, then nothing is on sale. Make a list of those products and ensure that you have updated photos, reviews, and website copy on all of those products. If you don't have 10 products, then pick one that's really going to go on sale. Which one is your loss leader? Think about that. And also a bonus tip is make sure you have one image for your product page. That is 1200 by 628 pixels. This is because of open graph, social sharing. You don't want to look like Amazon with this big old wide field and your book right in the middle. So those are my tips for Black Friday.
Jamie Marsland, Pootlepress
[16:05] Jamie Marsland: Jamie Marsland, Pootlepress. I've got four tips that I would recommend you use for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. The first one is launch your Black Friday page before you actually launch the offer and advertise the offer publicly, just so that so Google can actually start indexing it before you actually start the campaign. And that means that when people type it into Google and search for it, they'll find you, so get it indexed early, even if you don't advertise it, index early.
Number two is make it clear how current customers have an upgrade path, because we get a lot of current customers that want to take advantage of bundles. So make it clear to them how they can actually upgrade if they've got current subscriptions with you. Number three is have clear contact information on the Black Friday page because we get a lot of customers that want to contact us to discuss their specific requirements.
And so make it really easy for them to contact you through the site. And number four is, I would recommend you run your offer past the date you advertise because we got a lot of orders posts when the Black Friday sale has closed. So people don't read when the sale is closed. So I would keep it open, even if you're using coupon codes and things like that. Extend the coupon code beyond the Black Friday, before you're advertising the Black Friday. And we find, we get orders post that date.
Emily Hunkler, GoWP
[17:30] Emily Hunkler: Hi, I'm Emily from GoWP. When it comes to Black Friday, we're sometimes apprehensive because we think there's a lot of noise. It's not going to make a difference, right? It's not worth it. Everything goes into running a successful promotion and successful campaign, but of course, every year we do it. And inevitably we're glad that we did and it has great results. So what I've learned is that doing a two-pronged approach can be really powerful. The end goal is to sell more, obviously, but you can sell more and create some happiness a lot in a way as well. So we love to reward our current customers by giving them an exclusive offer, only available to them, or also our community, folks who are already within community who have engaged with us, that sort of thing. And we'll promote that exclusively within that community.
And then apart from that, we'll create another general promotion for new folks. And that's really a great discount as well. They're both compelling offers, one a little bit more rewarding for folks who have helped us get to where we are and then the other one to bring more folks in and create some happiness there. You also want to have that thing that offer to share publicly because there's a lot of folks who aggregate these deals and share them and give you those valuable backlinks that have a different value all on their own, so that's another reason to just set something up for Black Friday. That way with this approach, you are broadening your reach, you're gaining new customers, you're increasing sales, and you are rewarding customers who have been loyal to you. So you're creating a little bit of happiness all around.
James Baldacchino, Ellipsis
[19:10] James Baldacchino: Hi, I'm James Baldacchino and I'm the senior marketing strategist at Ellipsis. November's almost here and it's time to think about Black Friday. Here's our top tip on how WooCommerce businesses should tackle November 26th. It may sound obvious, but start from looking at your pricing first. Here's the ways you can do that: first consider creating bundles if you can, but those are great because you can create excellent value while still managing to protect your average order value. Meaning your revenue for Black Friday, they can actually increase rather than decrease due to the discounts you're giving. The right bundle can even help you increase your AOV while still managing to give a very good discount. The right bundle also helps you mix the essential parts of your portfolio with the nice-to-haves, which will help drive up the perceived value of your whole discount for the bundle.
If it's in your bundle, it can also keep you from being seen as punishing existing customers, as it's a totally new product, you can offer it as an upgrade at a very special price for your most loyal customers instead. The second important point around your pricing for Black Friday is don't overdo the discount. This applies for any sale you do throughout the year, but even more so on Black Friday, you don't want customers thinking your product value is actually very low because you discount it too heavily, and this will have a long-term impact on your product perception and therefore what you can charge for it throughout the rest of the year. Do make Black Friday the most significant sale of the year, but make sure to not throw away the value perception around your product. A discount we usually recommend is 30% and it seems to be the most common level from benchmarks we've observed.
Jason Coleman, Stranger Studios
[21:01] Jason Coleman: Hey everyone. This is Jason Coleman from Stranger Studios, makers of the Site Wide Sales plugin and Paid Memberships Pro. Here's my Black Friday, Cyber Monday tip, this is it. Make sure you actually do it, run a sale this Black Friday. You're going to hear lots of tips. And honestly, they're really good tips on how to run your sale, how to price things, what software to use, how to get the word out, but really the number one thing you want to make sure you do is actually run a sale the weekend of Black Friday this year. It can be as simple as lowering your prices and emailing everyone you can link to your website. I'm not saying it should be that simple, for sure. Spend some time on this and listen to all the smart folks that Bob and others have brought together to give you advice. But above all, make sure you really run a sale.
The weekend of Black Friday is the one weekend everyone will expect you to be running a sale. There's really no chance of damaging your brand or confusing your customers by showing a lower price on your website for a few days. As long as you're making a profit on every sale, you're going to do well. By the way, if you can make a profit selling stuff at a discount, that might be a good sign that you need to raise your prices. Do that first and then think about sales later. But if you're going to run a sale this Black Friday, what's the worst that could happen? If your Black Friday sale doesn't perform well, you can just move on and ignore Black Friday every year from now on out. However, if the Black Friday sale does perform well for you, you might make a lot of money, learn a bunch about your business, bring on some new customers and set yourself up to run even better sales in the future. So I say, go for it, run a sale this year.
BobWP: Hey, Bob WP bopping back in and I have to admit, Jason is the perfect ending to this plethora of awesome tips for you. I want to personally thank all of them for sharing their knowledge and expertise to help you with your Black Friday, Cyber Monday sales. Also, we'd like to thank our two pod friends, OSTraining.com and Woofunnel.com, for their continued support. Do check them out and remember to subscribe, to Do the Woo on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. Good luck with your holiday sales. And we'll be back soon with another episode of Do the Woo.
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